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Archie Wheeler, Lead Alto
Allen Solganick, Alto/Tenor
Jerry Keys, Tenor/Flute
Ray Kireilis, Tenor/Baritone
Herb Porter, Baritone/Bass Clarinet

Morgan Powel, Lead
Dee Barton
William Barton
Larry Moser
Jerry Schulze, Bass Trombone

Marv Stamm, Lead
Ron Towell
John Crews
Tom Wirtel
John Inglis

Lanny Steele, Piano

Toby Guynn, Bass

Paul Guerrero, Drums

Don Gililland, Guitar

Extra Players for Special Instruments:
Ken Fears, Flute
David Irving, Horn
Bill Pickering, Horn
John LaForge, Tuba

North Texas Lab Band

Not Available on CD At the Present...Stay Tuned!

The first time I heard the North Texas Lab Band, which had rapidly been gaining recognition with their local concerts and with the apparent ease with which they were running off with first place awards in virtually every competition they entered, was on tapes that had been recorded at their 1959 Spring Jazz Concert. (They now also include annual fall concert as well.) It was difficult to realize at the time (and still is) that these were “just” college boys, some barely out of high school, rather than full-fledged traveling members of on of the big road band whom they emulate, more than successfully.

North Texas’ School of Music had been noted for years for its Symphony Orchestra, Opera Workshop, Concert and Marching Bands, A Cappella Choir, and more than a dozen smaller performing groups, when M. E. “Gene” Hall, a graduate student was asked to teach dance band arranging to two special students in 1942. Word got around and 15 students were enrolled. Hall officially joined the North Texas faculty in 1947 to develop dance band study as part of the regular curriculum. Later, he earned a doctor’s degree from New York University

When Dr. Hall resigned from the NTSC faculty in 1959 to continue similar work at Michigan State University he was succeeded by Leon Breeden, who had been director of bands for five years at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth.

Leon’s quiet, scholarly mien belies his exceptional energy and drive, not only in actually handling the bands, but in lending a engaging and persuasive personality to furthering the cause of jazz both outside and in the school.

In March, 1960, the Lab Band won the highest awards in the 1960 Collegiate Jazz Festival at Notre Dame University. Competing with 28 other bands from schools throughout the nation, the NTSC group was adjudged the outstanding group of the festival and the best big band. Marv Stamm, who’s featured on several of the selections in this album, was chosen as the outstanding instrumentalist and best trumpet player at the festival. The Laboratory Band (actually, there are three bands, varying in proficiency) is comprised of students working toward a bachelor of music degree with a major in dance band. Not content with merely replaying the “books” of other established bands, the lab group has several top flight arrangers within the school who furnish the bands with original tunes and arrangements.

The fellows in the band impress audiences by their straightforward, no-nonsense approach in performing, leaving the pyrotechnic affectations to others. These clean-cut, conservatively dressed young men are contrary to the sometimes general misconception of the typical jazz musician. Some of the best known names in jazz have listened to and been impressed by the professional talents of the Lab Band. Stan Kenton and Johnny Richards have provided arrangements from their own libraries, and Kenton has borrowed a couple of members to augment his own band on recording sessions.

The North Texas “jazz school” has become nationally known thru its appearances on Steve Allen’s television show, and the country as well. Rare is the college concert hall that’s not packed when word gets around that the North Texans are performing.

(While this album was in preparation, word was received that on the night of April 23rd in South Bend, Indiana, the North Texas Lab Band again took highest honors in competition at the annual 1961 Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival. Not only did the Band itself take the “Best Band” title, but several members comprising the Jazztet won “Best Combo,” and individual awards as best performer on their instrument were given to Tom Wirtel, trumpet; Dee Barton, trombone; Paul Guerrero, drums; Don Gilliland, guitar; and Toby Guynn, bass.)

The judges for the 1961 Festival included Quincy Jones, Johnny Richards, George Russell, Charles Suber (Editor of “Downbeat”), and Robert Share (Berkshire School of Music, Boston).

Hugh Lampman
Received the Dallas Entertainment Playbill awards as Best Radio Personality of 1960, and has hosted American Airlines Music ‘til Dawn program since 1954 on Dallas’ CBS affiliate KRLD.

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